In this last piece about Core Set 2019 Limited, I’ll go through the remaining archetypes I didn’t cover in part 1 or part 2. I’ll talk about what’s important, how to pace your game, make a list, etc. I’ll also summarize the format as a whole, how fast it is, how deep it is, and my general conception of it. After that, I’ll make some lists!
B/G ”Stuff” might be the least synergistic color combination in Core Set 2019. There’s not really any special spell, sacrifice, or go-wide plan going on, but more of a mish mash of great creatures in green and great removal in black. This is the place you end up if… well, both colors are just open, and not a synergy in particular. The multicolor card—Poison-Tip Archer—kind of says it all. It’s just a great card and it doesn’t synergize in green-black in particular. If anything, it would be better in a sacrifice archetype or maybe a go-wide strategy, making your alpha strikes more effective.
If there’s anything you could look for, it would be that Macabre Waltz synergizes well with big creatures, especially something like Bristling Boar or Vine Mare. Blood Divination also fits well with Elvish Rejuvenator. Other than that, I’d draft black-green as conventionally as possible once the colors are open. Also, it’s not very aggressive, so don’t be too afraid to durdle around a little.
Cards that become better in B/G Stuff:
Cards that become worse:
Anything too synergistic, like:
R/G Ramp is similar to U/G Ramp. The key difference is instead of using card draw to counteract flooding, it has better mana sinks. Draconic Disciple really does it all: ramping, fixing, and a mana sink/win condition in the late game, but if there’s one card that especially comes to mind regarding R/G Ramp, it’s Sparktongue Dragon. R/G Ramp is the best place for Sparktongue Dragon, a card I thought would be one of the best commons when I saw the spoiler, but is just a little too pricey for other archetypes to use its full effect. But when you regularly get up to the kicker cost of this common beast, it’s fantastic. That gives R/G Ramp, together with Colossal Dreadmaw, the best finishers. Sparktongue Dragon also gives the archetype a much needed flyer to help close games alongside Draconic Disciple, something we don’t get to see too often in red-green in other Limited formats, making it slightly more versatile.
Another thing that R/G Ramp has going for it is that the red removal makes it easier to keep up in the early game. Shock and Electrify are excellent removal spells that just don’t exist in blue. Although Fiery Finish isn’t a fantastic card since R/G ramps up its mana, it gives them a tool to deal with anything. Well, almost anything. If you’re drafting, you also get to see it quite late, since other decks just can’t go to 6 mana as often, making this more of a free pick.
Lastly, red-green is the best place for Colossal Majesty. Colossal Majesty can be an incredible card, but needs enough help to get going and there are tons of enablers in R/G Ramp. If I had two of them or more, I’d try to pick up almost as many Bristling Boar, Havoc Devils, and Onakke Ogres as I could get my hands on. Remember, if you’re lacking enablers, something as simple as a Marauder’s Axe can help you never miss out on triggering it. Even in decks with enough enablers, it’s a great sideboard card versus decks that have tons of removal to try to get you off creatures with 4 or more power.
Cards that become better in R/G Ramp:
Cards that become worse:
Bonus Archetype: U/x Mill
U/x Mill builds around the card Psychic Corrosion. The plan is similar to Turbofog, where you land one of these bad boys and then try to draw as many cards as possible to trigger it as often as possible, and more cantrips and more cards that slow your opponent down. With Patient Rebuilding in your deck, this deck can go into hyper mode, both benefiting from each other in amazing fashion. If you don’t get enough pieces, Millstone can help you make your ”clock” get faster.
When you’re in this archetype, the pick order gets weird as you’re basically just trying to stay alive. That doesn’t just mean that Walls and fog effects are good, but also cards that trade well and slow down your opponent in other ways.
The way you get into the archetype is either by picking up Psychic Corrosion early ,or preferably, you wheel it and make sure no one else is in the archetype. A great way to do this is to pass one early and when you see a second, jump on the bandwagon and hopefully you’ll wheel the other.
Recursive ways of drawing cards work especially well in this archetype. If you can draw an extra card from Arcane Encyclopedia every turn to trigger Psychic Corrosion more often while casting Sleep or Root Snare, you’re in great shape. If you have Sai, Master Thopterist, try to pick up more artifacts you every artifact you cast. You create another chump blocker that, together with Sai, Master Thopterist, can get sacrificed to draw a card, draw more chumpers, and trigger Psychic Corrosion. In the same sense, Mystic Archaeologist is the stone cold nuts.
Cards that become better in U/x Mill:
Cards that become worse:
Creatures that attack!
There you have it! These are all the regular archetypes I’ve come upon. If you compare the format to Innistrad or Dominaria, it’s not as deep, not even close. Core Set 2019 comes down to more classic Limited, taking removal high—attacking, blocking, and everything in between. No fancy Spider Spawning, Burning Vengeance, or going infinite with The Mirari Conjecture. While it isn’t like those Limited formats, however great they may be, they are more like drafting Cube or feel sometimes like drafting Constructed decks. It’s sometimes nice to play some clean Limited, which is better for players to learn the foundation of Limited, and makes it easier to learn newer Limited formats.
Regarding the format’s speed, I would say it’s on the slower side. I don’t think that there are a ton of easy ways to be really aggressive in this format because there are good early blockers in each color combination. This means that aggressive decks needs to do more in order to successfully close out games that are synergistic, whether it’s going wide in R/W or having the right sacrifice pieces in R/B. That being said, slower cards that grind well, like Dryad Greenseeker, Sift, or Mentor of the Meek get better. This also means that solid late game finishers such as Frilled Sea Serpent or Colossal Dreadmaw become more powerful, as well as hard removal to deal with them, like Lich’s Caress or Murder.
Below I rate the power level of the different archetypes and where I want to be when they’re open. Remember, this is all contextual and as far as I’m concerned, there’s no archetype that I’d really shy away from, meaning that the most important part is to stay open. While staying open, I would however keep this list in mind as some archetypes are better than others, meaning that while some cards are less powerful in a vacuum, they are stronger signals because of my affinity for those colors or archetypes.
- U/G Ramp
- R/G Ramp
- U/W Artifacts
- W/B Lifegain
- B/R Sacrifice
- U/B Control
- U/R Spells
- B/G Stuff
- W/R Go Wide
- W/G Auras
U/x Mill is a bit too contextual to rate.
It’s still too early to tell for me, but if I were to say that there’s a color I like the most it’d be green, with blue as a close second. I think green lets me play at the pace I want the most, while having great commons. It also has the option to play some of the more narrow, more expensive cards that other decks don’t want unless you’re, for example, ramping. What can I say? Elvish Rejuvenator is just the real deal!
Next, I’ll rank the colors. Important to note that I don’t think there’s that much disparity between the colors, like say in Zendikar, where green was close to unplayable.
I hope you learned something from this Core Set 2019 Limited primer. Together with LSV’s rating articles, Frank Karsten’s pick order list, and Ben Stark’s comprehensive article on analyzing new Limited formats, you have a great start toward mastering Core Set 2019, whether it’s leading up to Nationals, GP Minneapolis, GP Turin, or drafting Leagues online. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below.